Niseko is a small town in the sub-prefecture of Shiribeshi on the island of Hokkaido and in the heart of the Shikotsu-Toya Natural Park. It is mainly known for its winter sports and the quality of its snow, renowned for having the best powder snow in the world.
Niseko is easily accessible from Tokyo by plane, taking a direct flight to Sapporo (1 hour 30), about 100 km from Niseko, then a train to Niseko (about 3 hours). It can also be reached by train from Tokyo but the journey is long: it will take 7 to 8 hours from Shinkansen and express train with a change to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, to reach the nearest station to Niseko, Kutchan Station.
Niseko is very popular with outdoor enthusiasts. In winter, its location with Mount Yotei as a spectacular backdrop makes it a favourite destination for ski and snowboard enthusiasts. The Niseko tourist complex includes 5 ski resorts (the best known of which are Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuri), and more than 48 km of slopes. With snow cover of 15 to 16 metres per season, Niseko is best known for the quality of its snow, which is light and not very humid (less than 8% humidity).
In summer too, Niseko is a very pleasant region. With a less humid climate than the rest of Japan and temperatures below 25°C, its environment is ideal for trying all kinds of nature activities such as hiking or canoeing. The ascent of Mount Yotei (1898 m) is one of the most famous hikes in Niseko, with 4 to 6 hours of walking through unspoilt nature. In this region, the fauna and flora are very rich: one can meet for example the endemic flying squirrel of the island of Hokkaide, the Ezo-Momanga.
In terms of gastronomy, Niseko is renowned for the quality of its agricultural products, particularly potatoes (Kutchan potatoes), but also asparagus and beans. One of the typical dishes of the region is Gosetsu udon, a potato-based noodle dish.